Vertex Announces New Drug Submission for Exagamglogene Autotemcel (exa-cel) Has Been Accepted for Priority Review by Health Canada for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease and Transfusion-Dependent Beta Thalassemia

 

-Exa-cel is the first CRISPR-based gene-edited therapy to be submitted for Health Canada review-

TORONTO, April 1, 2024 /CNW/ - Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) today announced its New Drug Submission (NDS) for exagamglogene autotemcel (exa-cel) has been accepted for Priority Review by Health Canada for the treatment of patients aged 12 years and older with sickle cell disease (SCD) with recurrent vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) and for the treatment of patients aged 12 years and older with transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia (TDT).

"We are pleased that exa-cel has been accepted for Priority Review by Health Canada and look forward to bringing this therapy to eligible patients," said Michael Siauw, General Manager at Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Canada) Incorporated.

The NDS will be part of an aligned review with Health Technology Assessment (HTA) organizations, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) and the Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) in Quebec.

With Priority Review, the conventional review timeline of 300 days is reduced to 180 days.

The NDS is supported by results from the ongoing Phase 3 studies, CLIMB-111 and CLIMB-121, as well as an ongoing long-term follow-up study, CLIMB-131. Data from the Phase 3 studies were most recently presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in December of 2023.

About exagamglogene autotemcel (exa-cel)

Exa-cel, formerly known as CTX001, is a non-viral, ex vivo CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited cell therapy for eligible patients with SCD or TDT, in which a patient's own hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are edited at the erythroid specific enhancer region of the BCL11A gene through a precise double-strand break. This edit results in the production of high levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF; hemoglobin F) in red blood cells. HbF is the form of the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin that is naturally present during fetal development, which then switches to the adult form of hemoglobin after birth. Exa-cel has been shown to reduce or eliminate VOCs for patients with SCD and transfusion requirements for patients with TDT. Earlier results from these ongoing trials were published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January of 2021 and presented at the ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in December 2023.

Exa-cel remains investigational in Canada and the safety and efficacy has not been established by Health Canada. Exa-cel is approved as CASGEVY® for certain indications in the United States, European Union, Great Britain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.

About CLIMB-111 and CLIMB-121

The ongoing Phase 1/2/3 open-label trials, CLIMB-111 and CLIMB-121, are designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a single dose of exa-cel in patients ages 12 to 35 years with TDT or with SCD, characterized by recurrent VOCs, respectively. The trials are now closed for enrollment. Patients will be followed for approximately two years after exa-cel infusion. Each patient will be asked to participate in CLIMB-131, a long-term follow-up trial.

About CLIMB-131

The ongoing long-term, open-label trial, CLIMB-131, is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of exa-cel in patients who previously received exa-cel.  

About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

SCD is a debilitating, progressive, life shortening genetic disease. SCD patients report health-related quality of life scores well below the general population and significant health care resource utilization. SCD affects the red blood cells, which are essential for carrying oxygen to all organs and tissues of the body. SCD causes severe pain, organ damage and shortened life span due to misshapen or "sickled" red blood cells. The clinical hallmark of SCD is vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs), which are caused by blockages of blood vessels by sickled red blood cells and result in severe and debilitating pain that can happen anywhere in the body at any time. SCD requires lifelong treatment and significant use of health care resources, and ultimately results in reduced life expectancy, decreased quality of life and reduced lifetime earnings and productivity. Stem cell transplant from a matched donor is a curative option but is only available to a small fraction of people living with SCD.

About Transfusion-Dependent Beta Thalassemia (TDT)

TDT is a serious, life shortening genetic disease. TDT patients report health-related quality of life scores below the general population and significant health care resource utilization. TDT requires frequent blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy throughout a person's life. Due to anemia, patients living with TDT may experience fatigue and shortness of breath, and infants may develop failure to thrive, jaundice and feeding problems. Complications of TDT can also include an enlarged spleen, liver and/or heart, misshapen bones and delayed puberty. TDT requires lifelong treatment and significant use of health care resources, and ultimately results in reduced life expectancy, decreased quality of life and reduced lifetime earnings and productivity. Stem cell transplant from a matched donor is a curative option but is only available to a small fraction of people living with TDT.

About Vertex

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases. The company has approved medicines that treat the underlying causes of multiple chronic, life-shortening genetic diseases — cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia — and continues to advance clinical and research programs in these diseases. Vertex also has a robust clinical pipeline of investigational therapies across a range of modalities in other serious diseases where it has deep insight into causal human biology, including acute and neuropathic pain, APOL1-mediated kidney disease, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, type 1 diabetes, myotonic dystrophy type 1 and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Vertex was founded in 1989 and has its global headquarters in Boston, with international headquarters in London. Additionally, the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Latin America and the Middle East. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry's top places to work, including 14 consecutive years on Science magazine's Top Employers list and one of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For. For company updates and to learn more about Vertex's history of innovation, visit www.vrtx.ca or follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter/X

(VRTX-GEN)

Vertex Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, without limitation, statements made by Michael Siauw in this press release, and statements regarding Vertex's beliefs that the NDS for exa-cel will be part of an aligned review with HTA, CADTH and INESSS, and Vertex's expectations that the conventional review timeline will be reduced with Priority Review. While Vertex believes the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are accurate, these forward-looking statements represent the company's beliefs only as of the date of this press release and there are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Those risks and uncertainties include, among other things, that regulatory authorities may not approve, or approve on a timely basis, our regulatory submissions for exa-cel, that data from a limited number of patients may not be indicative of final clinical trial results, and that data from the company's development programs may not support registration or further development of its compounds due to safety and/or efficacy, or other reasons, and other risks listed under the heading "Risk Factors" in Vertex's most recent annual report and subsequent quarterly reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and available through the company's website at www.vrtx.com and on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Vertex disclaims any obligation to update the information contained in this press release as new information becomes available.

SOURCE Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Canada) Inc.

 
 
Company Codes: NASDAQ-NMS:VRTX
 

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